A long-serving Tottenham Labour councillor has had the whip withdrawn for three months after speaking out against cuts to adult care services.
As a result of the budget of £70m cuts over three years passed by Labour-run Haringey Council in 2014, the Haringey cabinet meeting on 10 November 2015 voted to close day centres for adults with dementia and disabilities. Birkbeck Road Day Centre in Hornsey, Always Day Centre near Muswell Hill, the Roundway Centre, the Grange Day Centre and the Haven Day Centre are all set to close.
At the meeting, Tottenham councillor Gideon Bull was reported to have said: “This will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable in our society.”
Haringey Labour Group chief whip Liz McShane said that the comments “demonstrated uncomradely behaviour and a disregard for the principles of collective responsibility which all Group members are required to abide by.”
Bull, who is appealing the decision, told the local press that: “I’m deeply saddened and I don’t think this punishment reflects the democratic society we live in. There’s no point being in politics if you can’t stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves.”
Tottenham CLP passed a motion of full support to Bull in his appeal, adding that the suspension drew “further public attention to an unpopular decision and made the Labour Party appear callous and dictatorial.” It called “on the Labour Group to show true leadership and rescind this decision in the interests of party unity…”
To Labour Party members the double-standard will be obvious. At a time when Blairite Labour MPs are lining up to attack Jeremy Corbyn, the same freedoms of criticism are not afforded to local councillors standing up for their communities against the cuts. Reverse the suspension!